If you are looking for ways to make more money with your music dig in!

There are three key components to increasing your income as a musician.

#1. Increase your number of clients (fans).

#2. Increase the frequency of purchase, how often your fans buy from you combined with what you offer.

Today, we’re going to focus on #3 3 types of Sustainable Strategies – Pre-Sale, Ongoing, or Crowdfunding.

Experiences are the foundational element for each and you can choose whichever resonates with you.


Strategize to make a sustainable living

If you want to make money, you need to diversify and add options that fans will be happy to pay for, which I talked about a lot in Part 2.

One thing that fans may REALLY want is to have an experience with you. Come up with some unique ideas for fan experiences and merchandise, and then come up with your strategy on how to implement. There are three points of entry for this.



Pre – Sale – Never Squander The Chance to Earn Money From A New EP of Full Release

We sadly see this all the time, artists put so much time into recording and creating a new body of work and strategize the release by going straight to hiring a PR firm or a radio promo company but skip a very important step – monetizing the actual release.  Just posting it to Spotify and iTunes won’t make you money.  You need to make each release a buying and experience opportunity for your fans.  Pledge Music is an amazing place to build experiences around your album or EP launch and they will help you ad perks and make your pre-sale special.  Artists of all levels are working with them and spending some time on the site will give you loads of inspiration on what you can offer and how you can structure your own pre-sale.



Longtime Cyber PR friend and Badass Christina Horn has a great project to peep. Love the way they not only have cool offerings like vinyl, signed merch, and house concerts but you can also get tacos and margaritas with the band!

A great statistic to keep in mind from Pledge is: fans spend an average of $55 each on projects.


Create Sustainable Ongoing Monthly Pay

Patreon allows you to “harness the power of your biggest fans by letting them fund your ongoing content creation with a monthly subscription amount of their choice.” and the possibilities here are endless no matter what you want to create – tracks, videos, artwork or merch – Patreon gives you a platform to host one off or monthly content to get paid regularly.




I had a really inspiring talk with Nate Maingard who hired us to write his Signature Story recently about how he is building his steady monthly income by signing up one fan at at time.  He is currently receiving monthly support from 400+ delighted and engaged fans and you can see how he interacts on his page.



A 30-Day sprint to a big goal

Whether you’re recording an album, making a music video, planning a tour, creating merchandise, or just trying to pay the bills, creating a crowdfunding campaign not only allows you to sustain a career as an independent musician – it also gives your fans the opportunity to take part in all of the unique experiences this post and series alludes to.

Give them the chance to support you, and they will! Plus, you’ll probably get some more exposure along the way – and new fans never hurt 🙂

In the end, if you offer your fans things that they really want, they will pay a lot of money to get them. In this day and age, what fans want the most is the chance to make personal connections with the musicians they love. Give them that chance, and you’ll be amazed what happens.

Kickstarter, and IndieGoGo are incredibly popular with musicians, helping you raise a large amount of money over a set period of time. However crowdfunding takes planning and a system.  I learned this over and over again as I coached many artists through the crowdfunding process.


If you have friends who have completed successful campaigns and you are thinking “they are so lucky!” They probably aren’t really that lucky at all.

Luck = careful planning.

How to avoid this: Here’s a little formula that I keep on a post-it note above my desk: hope is for suckers, action is for winners! Read my article about how to pre-prepare for a successful crowdfunding campaign here.

How to fix this: Create a detailed plan that involves personalized high touch to people that have money. Focus on your campaign every day and follow through – it will make you “lucky” in the end. My book Crowdstart will walk you through this plan step – by step.  Come and download a free chapter.


Make It GOOD

Experience Ideas

There are literally thousands of ideas out there for different experiences you can offer your fans. Check out Pledge projects and see what resonates In the meantime, here are a few basic ideas:

  • Backstage meet and greets
  • Dinner with the band before a gig
  • Bowling party
  • Wine tasting
  • Coffee shop hang
  • Bar hopping with the band
  • Skype guitar or drum lessons
  • Custom-written songs for fans
  • House concerts
  • Cover song requests
  • Custom Happy Birthday songs on social media

Fun Merchandise

We touched on merchandise a bit in Part 2, but we just wanted to reinforce the idea that unique and exclusive merchandise offers can bring in a lot of revenue.

  • Exclusive downloads
  • Jump drives loaded with music
  • Bundled packages
  • Hand-drawn album artwork
  • Hand made items (bake a cake! knit a cap!)
  • Yoga mats, coffee mugs, shot glasses, water bottles, boxers – get creative!

The best thing about experiences is that they’re a relatively easy thing for you to give to fans – AND it’s invigorating to meet and interact with people who are really psyched about your music.


Ready to start getting money in the door?  Buy Crowdstart and get Social Media Tuneup now…



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One Response to “Music Marketing Tips – Part 3: Sustainable Strategies”

  1. Ian - Make It In Music


    This 3 parter has been great and I’ve sent my readers here to get the full lesson.

    One thing that I’ve observed just this last week makes an interesting addition to the way you can charge people to be part of the experience.

    One of my writer / producer clients is just finishing an album for a massive global star and everyone who comes through the studio (casual drop-ins, the receptionist, the cook, the mailman), literally everyone (me included) is desperate to get a tiny insignificant place in the history of this record. We all want to do the handclaps on the outro, or play triangle or be in the crowd noise backing vocals. And, because the record has been a riot, some of those people have. Case in point, the studio owner’s PA’s daughter (15 years and pop crazy) got to to do the handclaps on the lead single – she is overcome!

    So, why not get your fans in the studio. Many records could take a rowdy choir – maybe on a hidden outro track if not in a track. Let someone in to do additional percussion – triangle to you and me.

    Of course, you could charge them, or you could just get amazing YouTube-able footage out of it, or a great PR angle – ‘My whole album was made with my fans!’

    The truth is that modern studio technology enables the most average player to be tweaked so you can even let people play some important parts and tweak them later.

    A real way to make the fans part of the process.


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